“What about Lincoln’s superiority to Davis as commander in chief? This might seem indisputable. Yet Lincoln made mistakes as a war leader. He went through a half-dozen failures as commanders in the eastern theater before he found the right general. Some of his other military appointments and strategic decisions could justly be criticized. And as late as the summer of 1864, when the war seemed to be going badly for the North, when Grant’s forces had suffered horrendous casualties to achieve a stalemate at Petersburg and Sherman seemed equally stalemated before Atlanta, Lincoln came under enormous pressure to negotiate peace with the Confederacy. … And Jefferson Davis might have gone down in history as the great leader of a war of independence, the architect of a new nation, the George Washington of the southern Confederacy. This did not happen, but only because of events on the battlefield — principally Sherman’s capture of Atlanta, and Sheridan’s spectacular victories over Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley. These turned northern opinion from despair in the summer to confident determination by November.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992